In-depth reviews

Mercedes C-Class hybrid saloon (2019-2021) review

The Mercedes C 300 hybrid is the only model in its sector with the option of diesel-electric power – and it's a great combination

Mercedes C-Class hybrid
Overall rating

4.0 out of 5

Pros

  • Available as a diesel-electric hybrid 
  • Efficient with good electric range
  • Refined and comfortable

Cons

  • Expensive to buy
  • Some rivals offer better value
  • Estate version is more versatile
Car typeElectric rangeFuel economyCO2 emissions
Plug-in hybrid34-35 miles177-235mpg31-34g/km

Plug-in hybrid powertrains in mid-size saloons have become increasingly popular in recent years, particularly among company-car users. The Mercedes C-Class has been available in plug-in hybrid form since 2019 and faces competition from the BMW 330e, Volvo S60 Recharge and Volkswagen Passat GTE, in addition to newcomers like the recently unveiled DS 9 E-TENSE

There's a new C-Class on the way, and it'll also be available as a plug-in hybrid. In the meantime, where the current C-Class plug-in hybrid stands out is its unique combination of diesel and electric power opposed to the petrol-electric powertrains in its competitors. A petrol-electric C 300 e is available, but it can’t compete with its diesel counterpart in terms of economy or emissions – although the petrol version could be better for lower-mileage drivers. 

The C 300 de is aimed at people who do a mix of local, urban driving and big motorway runs. It aims to combine the traditional smooth, long-distance cruising ability of a powerful diesel engine with the sprightly around-town performance and zero-emissions capability of electric power.

Both C 300 e and C 300 de are offered in four-door saloon and five-door estate bodystyles, but here we're reviewing the saloon. The extensive trim line-up includes Sport, AMG Line, AMG Line Night Edition Premium and AMG Line Night Edition Premium Plus, ranging in price from just under £41,000 to just over £50,000. Depending on what standard equipment you prioritise, the BMW 330e could offer better value for private buyers, but it's unlikely that those in the company-car user-chooser market will notice much difference.

The Mercedes C-Class has always been a less sporty proposition than its rivals from BMW and Audi; its plug-in hybrid drivetrain improves refinement, especially at lower speeds where a standalone diesel engine can be a bit clattery. The C 300 de is faster than an equivalent non-electrified model, too, with lots of low-down torque helping to cut the 0-62mph time to 5.6 seconds. 

Despite the car's extra weight – some 310kg in the diesel – the C 300 de rides well and is very comfortable and cosseting. Non-electrified C-Class models feel lighter on their toes, but the plug-in car still handles neatly enough. It stops short of being as engaging for a keen driver as a 3 Series, however. Inside, the C-Class' interior is starting to feel a bit old, but has been fitted with Mercedes' latest infotainment system and – in higher-spec models – plenty of equipment.

Overall, the C-Class is another competitive entry into the hotly contested plug-in hybrid compact executive class. Its unique selling point is the option of electrified diesel power, offering company-car drivers something a little more useful for when their battery runs flat on a longer run. It could well be a clincher for many. For a more in-depth look at the C-Class hybrid in both its forms, see the rest of our review...

Most Popular

Top 10 best seven-seater electric and hybrid cars 2021
Mercedes EQB
Best cars

Top 10 best seven-seater electric and hybrid cars 2021

If the regular crop of electrified SUVs and family cars don’t provide enough practicality for you, then take a closer look at the range of electric an…
5 Oct 2021
EV36Zero and Nissan's road to carbon neutrality
NIssan Leaf parked in the desert
Advertisement Feature

EV36Zero and Nissan's road to carbon neutrality

How the EV36Zero hub in Sunderland is set to take Nissan a step closer to its sustainability goals
30 Sep 2021
Top 10 best luxury electric cars 2021
BMW iX
Best cars

Top 10 best luxury electric cars 2021

From Audi to Tesla, here are our top picks of the most luxurious zero-emissions motoring options on the market right now
7 Oct 2021